When it comes to trying to improve your skills in something, it is rare to think watching TV is going to have much benefit. After all, watching TV is often the activity we turn to as a means to switch off from our busy days and relax.
The value of TV
There are a number of programmes that are currently programmed on TV schedules or available on demand that can do both: relax you while also exposing you to English that’s going to help you improve your speaking and listening communication skills for work and in the test.
Each programme gives valuable examples of communication between healthcare professionals and their patients as well as between healthcare colleagues.
1. Kings Cross ER. Set in one of Sydney’s busiest hospitals. This series focuses on the emergency department and the treatment provided to patients from life-saving surgery to treating multiple stab wounds.
2. Embarrassing Bodies. A team of British doctors talk to patients with problems they believe to be too embarrassing to discuss with their regular GP and provide them with advice and treatment. At the same time they remove the embarrassment by proving all bodies are the same.
3. One born every minute. Set in maternity wards around the UK. This series focuses on the different staff who assist parents-to-be during labour and birth while celebrating the moment a new child enters the world.
4. Outback ER. Set in one of Australia’s remotest hospitals, the staff in this series never know what to expect from one day to the next.
5. Hospital. This series looks at some of the challenges facing the healthcare system in the UK, the NHS [National Health Service]
Tips for while you listen
While watching these programmes, these are 5 tips of things to do at the same time:
- Listen to the language used by the medical professional to start the conversation with the patient.
- Listen for the responses the medical professional uses to answer questions or comments made by the patient.
- Listen to how the tone, speed, intonation and language choices change for different medical situations and for different types of patient e.g. emergency/routine, old/young
- Listen for the language used by the medical professional to explain, reassure and persuade
- Listen for the language used by the medical professional to communicate with patients who are emotional e.g. angry, confused, frustrated, scared.
Note down examples of this language and then try it out in your own communication as soon as you can to make your English sound more natural and improve your range of language choices.